Two programmes for exceptionally gifted secondary school students have been launched jointly by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and the Education Department, in the first such collaboration between the department and a university. In the next two semesters 100 students between Form Three and Form Seven enrolled in the Mathematics Enhancement Programmes will spend their Saturday afternoons attending lectures by renowned mathematician Professor Wu-yi Hsiang, and general studies lectures conducted by various HKUST faculty members. Their attendance and an examination at the end of the programme will determine if they can obtain two credit units at HKUST. Another 85 Form Five to Form Seven students attending the Leadership Enhancement Programmes will be conducting research projects in teams of six. HKUST lecturers will meet them regularly to offer guidance and advice. Two credit units are also available for these students. Since January more than 30 programmes had been launched, including some to equip teachers and parents with the skills and knowledge in teaching gifted students, said Education Department director Matthew Cheung Kin-chung at the opening ceremony held at the HKUST campus last week. 'These two programmes are the flagships,' he said. 'They allow these exceptionally gifted students to walk through the university gates before leaving secondary school. Hopefully other universities will also join.' The programmes would do more than introduce theories, said Michael Roy Ming-tak, dean of the School of Science at HKUST. 'They are about introducing a much broader vision and a passion for learning. We must let [the students] feel that learning is an enjoyable experience.'